Beating the Los Angeles Rams doesn’t look to be as daunting as it did in 2018. If the Cincinnati Bengals can stop the run, a first win could finally happen.
The 2019 Los Angeles Rams are not the same group NFL fans have come to know. At 4-3, 0-2 in the NFC West, you would think the league as a whole has probably figured them out. While the truth maybe somewhere in the middle, one thing is for sure, and that is to beat Los Angeles, you need to stop Todd Gurley. The question heading into Week 8 is if the Cincinnati Bengals defense is up to the task.
That may sound easier said than done. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor knows that too. But if Cincinnati can stop the Rams run game, winning their first game of the season might very well happen.
Taylor, who was in LA last season, probably remembers how December went for the Rams. After a monster game on Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs, most thought defense in the NFL was dead, and that McVay had a team who could outscore just about anybody. Then, after the bye week, a game in Detroit looked to have been a signal that the machine was breaking down.
The Rams would go 3-2, suffering back to back losses against the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles. Los Angeles would eventually sign C.J. Anderson who was instrumental in getting the Rams over the hump and subsequently into the Super Bowl.
The first year Bengals head coach knows that too. If his memory serves, as Gurley slowed down to a near stop with an arthritic knee, so too did fortunes in Los Angeles.
Taylor will need to find a way to do what Tampa Bay, Seattle, and to a lesser extent, what San Francisco did. Against the Bucs, Gurley ran for 16 yards, and against the Seahawks, he netted 51 yards. Both those games were part of a three-game slide the Rams have gone through this first half of this season.
If the Bengals are successful in limiting the run game and forcing quarterback Jared Goff to go to the air, Cincinnati has a shot. Goff is best when the running game is clicking, but he’s also less so if it’s not. A big day from the Bengals defense might be enough to help Taylor get that elusive first win of the season.